The Best Subject Lines for Sales in 2018

Picture it: you’ve just designed an amazing email for your latest marketing campaign.

The sleek graphics, artfully selected fonts and stylish color schemes are only matched by the carefully written copy designed to win you tons of new leads.

There’s only one thing holding you back, but it’s a big one: an incredible subject line to get people to open your email. 

So what are the best subject lines for sales? This guide has some incredible tips to help get your sales pouring in.

Crafting the perfect subject line trips up even the best marketing gurus. After all, a lot rides on that carefully selected phrasing!

The email subject line is your first impression on a potential client. If it doesn’t catch the eye and inspire click-through, they’ll never have the opportunity to see who you are or what you’re offering.

This loses potential customers, and your sales can plummet. That’s why we’ve put together this comprehensive guide! In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know to write the best sales email subject lines.

Are Email Campaigns Still Relevant in 2018?

This is a million-dollar question. Literally. With the advancement of technology, marketing, positioning and more...is anyone even opening those emails?

The answer is yes.

Email marketing is an important part of the marketing plan, and it isn’t going away anytime soon.

A prominent technology research firm called the Radicati Group found that in 2018 alone, the number of business and consumer emails sent and received per day will exceed 281 billion

If that wasn’t enough email, the number is expected to grow by over 4% year over year. Email isn’t slowing down anytime soon, and marketing efforts via email shouldn’t either!

The #1 Metric: Email Open Rate

Your email open rate is the single factor that decides whether your email marketing campaign is a success or failure.

If there’s any metric that you pay attention to, it should be your open rate.

There are many ways to measure conversions and numbers in your email marketing campaign efforts, but none of them matter if your emails aren’t getting opened! That’s why good email subject lines for sales are so important.

A good open rate isn’t 100%, which is almost unattainable. The open rate (number of opens/ number of emails sent- any bounceback emails) also differs from industry to industry.

Email marketing magnate MailChimp breaks down the open rate in each industry based on a pool of it’s clients. The benchmarks to compare your industry to are here.

For example, as of March 2018 the benchmark for open rates in marketing and advertising emails is 16.48%. If you have over this number, your email subject lines for sales are great!

Avoiding the SPAM Filter

Making sure your subject line for a sales email dodges the SPAM filter is critical.

While you’re busy penning the best subject lines for sales emails, it’s important to keep the SPAM filter in mind.

Email SPAM filters have gotten incredibly sophisticated, making sure that irritating junk email skips the inbox and lands right where it belongs- in the junk folder.

However, that’s not where we want your gorgeous email marketing campaign to wind up!

Avoiding the SPAM filter is a bit nuanced to cover in this article, but to get you started, here are some things to avoid doing when writing a sales email subject line:

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    Referencing commerce terms like “buy now”, “buy direct”, or “clearance”
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    Using money symbols - especially more than one, and “cash”
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    Referencing extra or fast income
  • 4.
    Marketing words like Subscribe, click, spam or trial offer
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    Offer terms like “no obligation” “no money down” and “no background check”
  • 6.
    Any percentages such as 50% off or 100% free

This list is not comprehensive, but can help you write the best subject lines for sales emails that will make it to your targets inbox!

Also, check out our detailed guide on what words NOT to use to avoid the SPAM filter when sending emails (click here). You can also see more useful guides on the Automational homepage.

Best Sales Subject Lines 101

So what’s the key to writing the best sales email subject lines, you ask? The answer comes in two parts. First, you must know your target as much as possible, and what state (or area of the sales funnel) they’re in.

Deciding whether they’re cold, warm or hot leads will help you choose from the best subject lines for sales emails you have to hit the mark every time.

Second, you must do your research through testing and data to find those top-rated subject lines in the first place.

Types of Leads: Cold, Warm, and HOT!

For those who aren’t as familiar with the lingo surrounding the temperature of your leads, let’s break it down. After all, you don’t want to be crafting subject lines for cold emails when targeting a hot lead, and vice versa. Here’s how it works:

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    Cold Leads- These individuals have never heard of your product, never requested information, and have no idea or only a vague idea about what you’re offering them. Cold email subject lines have to be particularly inspiring to convince the recipient to open it and find out more. Keep in mind, what makes a good subject line for introduction email may not work for a hot lead and vice versa.
  • 2.
    Warm Leads- The next step up from a cold lead, a warm lead is someone who was referred, or submitted their contact information via signing up for a newsletter or downloadable content. They’ve expressed interest, but don’t get too confident. Some of the best subject lines for cold emails will probably work well on this group too!
  • 3.
    Hot Leads- These leads are close to the end of the sales cycle. They are searching specifically for the product or service you offer. They know who you are, or at least enough to know that you offer what they need. Save the cold call email subject line- you’ll need a different approach here.

Split Test Your Best Cold Email Subject Lines & Optimize Your Approach

If you want to optimize your message and find out which subject line for cold email messages is going to work for your marketing campaign, use split testing.

Split testing, or A/B Testing is when you give your best subject line for cold email a whirl against your second best. Send half your list one email, and the other half a different email employing another subject line.

By seeing which group opens and clicks through more, you can quickly figure out what the ideal consumer responds to. One of the best ways to do this is by using marketing automation software (see our recommended list here).

Tips For Writing Cold Email Subject Lines

The best practices for writing the best cold email subject lines changes constantly. The problem is there isn't a silver bullet that will work forever. Like fashion, there's trends that come and go.

If you're looking for the ultimate subject line for sales emails that will always "work", you're going to be disappointed. For example, what was a great approach just a few months ago may be old news by the time you get a hold of it.

However, below are some of the staples of a good cold call email subject line, with examples. They're hot now, but that won't last forever. Use the examples below as inspiration and split test like mentioned above.

Tip #1: Be Engaging

Your email subject line should be attention grabbing, whether through shock value, personalization or humor. Or, make them curious enough to open! Some tried and true subject lines start with attention-getters like:

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    “I could be wrong, but…”
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    “I can help you”

Tip #2: Do Your Research

Clicking a button to send out one hundred sales emails is a thing of the past. Researching your target on sites like LinkedIn or Facebook to find out more about them can inspire open rates and the right amount of curiosity and build rapport.

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    “So, you surf too?”
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    Have you tried (restaurant in leads town)? What did you think?”

Tips for Writing Subject Lines For Warm Leads

Most clever or funny cold lead subject lines will also work for warm leads! One advantage you may have is that these leads are often referred, or enter their email for downloadable content or to request more information.

It’s really easy to use this to your advantage!

Tip #3: Name Drop

Naming the person who referred this prospective client in the email subject line is a sure way to get a second look. They’ll feel more comfortable automatically with the name of a mutual acquaintance.

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    “John suggested I get in touch…”
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    “Cindy thought I might be able to help you with…”

Tip #4: Follow Up With Personalized Content

Chances are your warm lead submitted their contact information to either learn more or to get downloadable content. Maximize on their interest by sending content their way. You can establish rapport and inspire positive feeling when showing that you’re helpful or thoughtful to your lead.

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    “[Name], I thought you might enjoy these blogs!”
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    “This infographic will help next time you…”

Tips for Writing Subject Lines for Hot Leads

Subject lines for hot leads often write themselves, depending on how the lead came to be so hot in the first place.

Tip #5: Give Them What They're Looking For

If this individual was a referral, or searching for the exact product that you provide, you can easily tailor your approach. Here are some examples that might come in handy!

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    “Id Like to Help With [Company Goal]”
  • 2.
    “Janet thought I might have the answer you’re looking for”
  • 3.
    “You Won’t Believe This [Product Feature]

Conclusion: Great Sales Email Subject Lines

We can't stress enough how important a first, second or even third look at your subject line strategy is. Clever and creative thinking, research and testing and personalization are all key to capturing the interest of potential customers. Hot leads are fantastic, and warm leads are promising.

However, if your company can master conversion out of cold call email subject lines, you can boost your sales immensely. Failure to pay attention or to keep emails generic and hollow in your email marketing campaign can alienate potential customers and wind up costing your company valuable resources.

Mastering the art of writing cold email subject lines is the first step towards an effective email marketing campaign, so what are you waiting for? It’s time to get writing!


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